Following the suspension of indefinite residence permits and citizenships in September last year, on Friday 22nd April 2022, the Honorable Minister of Home Affairs Motlalentoa Letsosa announced that such suspension has been uplifted.
The applications will be open for all legible persons from Monday 25th April 2022. “We are not selling indefinite permits, we are not selling citizenship”, the Minister warned. This means the documents of the applicant and the reasons for applying will be thoroughly scrutinized before any permit could be granted. That will depend on who will add economical value to the country.
“This country should maintain its dignity”. The Honorable Minister emphasized that the applications are not automatically approved. Therefore, an applicant ought to accept when the application is not approved. Foreign nationals are in the country for either business, work, marriage etc.
In his speech, the Minister acknowledged that after some foreigners were found in possession of fraudulent receipts which were said to have been issued by the Ministry, the department found it deem to carry out to this effect.
The Minister showed that the report is from 1966 to date whereby a total of 1 083 citizenship applications have been granted. However, other documents were lost during 1998 looting and burning of buildings, therefore the numbers though not being exact due to manual operation at that time, 155, were found when contacted, while an estimation of 900 could not be reached. The Minister’s assumption was that, it could either be that some are dead or could have left Lesotho totally. ‘In addition, citizen application is not automatic, it can either be granted or not granted’, Letsosa said. The Minister further insinuated that from this report, it is obvious that those foreigners need Lesotho passports as a leeway to other countries. This is so because only Lesotho citizens are legible to apply for passport.
In clarification to some questions, Immigration Manager, explained that from the long list of requirements for application, one of them is for one to have stayed in Lesotho for a period of 5 years consistently and without any crime, so this is also not a passport for granting citizenship, what is of importance is the value the applicant has added to the country’s economy.
According to the Minister, what these new Basotho do, will tarnish Lesotho’s relations with countries which she has good ties, as they could commit crime wherever they are as Basotho. Minister Letsosa sees this as a loophole, hence the announcement to tighten citizenship and indefinite residence permits applications. He mentioned the petty jobs they do as business managers, marriage of convenience and emphasized on taking strict measures for all applicants through screening and scrutinizing every applicant.